The Patrick Henry Society warns that it might.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has introduced legislation to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Gun-running, Explosives, and Childkilling, also known as ATF or BATFE. According to his proposal, he thinks the ATF’s ‘duties’ (I use the term loosely) could be absorbed by the FBI and DEA. If the bill passes, then the ATF has six months to come up with a plan for how it’ll dissolve.
While a lot of folks are cheering because Drain The Swamp and Take Our Country Back and all of that stuff, they’re missing a whole other layer to this situation.
Remember last time the ATF was up for dissolution? That was in 1993. When Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) proposed back then that ATF needed to be dissolved, the agency scrambled to find a way to justify its own existence. Surely, if they had a big bust, a big save, the government would see how very important and necessary they were. But who could they arrest? What could they do to prove they needed to stick around?
They decided to go after a guy in Texas, named Vernon Howell–known to his church as David Koresh. The rest, as they say, is history; a bloody, horrifying, charred and craven piece of history that proved only the depravity of the ATF and the greater federal government.
There's more at the link.
I share the author's concern. I served as a chaplain with the Bureau of Prisons (part of the Department of Justice). I had (and sometimes still have, in retirement) occasion, professionally and privately, to discuss federal law enforcement with members of the FBI, the US Marshals Service, and other agencies. Their opinion of the ATF was and is unanimous - and frequently unprintable. The individuals concerned regarded it as unprofessional, politicized, and actively seeking to aggrandize itself at the expense of other agencies, to so great an extent that they tried to avoid having to cooperate with it in joint investigations. I've never forgotten one agent's reaction. He shook his head at having to go on a raid with ATF agents in attendance, and said disgustedly, "If they're guarding my back, I'm gonna double up on back body armor!" Everyone else in attendance indicated their emphatic agreement, some in words of approximately one syllable.
I found it telling that when the disbandment of the ATF was last discussed, back in 1993, it was mooted that ATF agents might be transferred to the FBI. I was told (by an FBI Special Agent in charge of a field office) that the agency flatly refused to even consider accepting them. The words "not professional enough" were bandied about when the matter was discussed, along with sundry other, less polite expressions.
It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the ATF try to justify its continued existence by staging some major operation in the full glare of publicity. Given their past efforts - which have included Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Operation Fast and Furious, the latter leading to the deaths of at least two federal law enforcement officers so far, plus hundreds of people in Mexico - the prospect does not fill me with confidence.
I don't know the Patrick Henry Society. It appears to be a one-man-band operation, as far as I can tell, and the article cited above has some extreme views with which I disagree. Nevertheless, on this issue, I fear the author may be correct. We'll all do well to keep our eyes open for any sign that the ATF may be at it again.